A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Democratic socialism in one borough

Great praise for Hackney's Labour Council in today's Times:

"Hackney now symbolises everything that new Labour was supposed to be all about. The revival began in 1996, when the party expelled a number of rebel councillors, mainly on the old Left, who were partly to blame for the borough's previous poor running. Things then stalled for a while, as Hackney was run by a coalition that included many of the expelled councillors before year zero in 2002.

That was when the Government bailed out the borough with a £25million grant to keep services going, while Labour, led by a forward-looking Mayor, Jules Pipe, was elected with a clear majority.

The turnaround has been textbook. The Audit Commission labelled Hackney the “most improving” local authority in 2004 after council tax collection rates were stepped up dramatically, housing and social services improved and fraud - once endemic - was stamped upon. The commission followed this with a similarly glowing report last year - and council tax has just been frozen for the third year running. Crime figures are also tumbling.

Hackney now bursts with confidence. The long-awaited extension of the East London Line next year will see it appear on the Tube map for the first time. Trendy bars, shops and restaurants proliferate. Dalston, previously one of the “edgier” neighbourhoods, was this week even compared with the Lower East Side in mid-1990s Manhattan in a newspaper article.
It is pro-business, too.

... all in all, Hackney could be a poster child for new Labour... Hackney has shown that it is possible to improve public services while helping business to thrive, holding down taxes and providing genuine value for money."

I'd like to think that my seven years as Chief Whip, which ended when I stepped down last week, may have helped create the stable political environment that made this transformation possible.


Blogger Matthew Cain said...

I don't think that anyone could doubt that your effectiveness as chief whip contributed to a stable political environment in the borough.

9:07 pm, April 30, 2009

Anonymous Dyanne Costello said...

Yes, Luke. It's printed in a Murdoch newspaper so it must be true.

" ... a stable political environment in the borough ... " which has permitted no dissent and, sadly, led to the Croydonisation of some of Hackney's most precious assets.

6:23 am, May 01, 2009

Blogger Luke Bruce said...

Dyanne Costello’s response is deeply depressing. Would she prefer that the Murdoch papers were rubbishing Hackney? I guess when all the evidence starts to stack up against your world view attacking the ownership of a newspaper which praises the hard work of the council and of the people of Hackney is the only refuge. I’ll take Hackney’s political stability over chaos when it means my neighbours get a better chance in life and I enjoy walking through my community.

10:10 am, May 01, 2009

Blogger Tim Roll-Pickering said...

Well one part isn't true as Hackney as appeared on the tube map intermittantly since the early 1980s when the North London Line (in is present form) was added. Lest any pedant argues they mean the tube tube, when the East London reopens it will be part of London Overground not London Underground.

12:01 pm, May 01, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not true that Council Tax has just been frozen for the third-year running. It's the fourth year.

12:04 pm, May 01, 2009

Anonymous Haggerston Harry said...

Tim Roll-Pickering is bang-on right. One big problem in Hackney is that the Labour Party and the Council have been taken over by a load of middle class w&nkers who know nothing about our borough (and care even less). Take for example Mayor Pipe's monotonous and mindless rant that - for the first time - he was going to 'put Hackney on the Tube Map'. If he knew anything about Hackney he'd know that stations (or station entrances) already in Hackney (and on the Tube map)include:-

Dalston Kingsland
Hackney Central
Hackney Wick
Shoreditch (historically)
Old Street
and (arguably)
Manor House

Check out Hackney on the tube map.

If our political leaders do not know where Hackney's stations are on the transport map you can imagine why we get worried and depressed when they get their grubby hands on the planning map.

They are attacking our street markets and ramming tower blocks down our throats. Please do not ask us to be grateful too.

1:04 pm, May 01, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The North London Line stations have been consistently on the tube map only since the line transferred to TfL.

Shoreditch station was not in Hackney, it was in Tower Hamlets.

One entrance of Old Street is in Hackney, as is one entrance of Manor House, I hardly think that counts as Hackney being 'on the tube map'.

3:26 pm, May 01, 2009

Anonymous Haggerston Harry said...

'Shoreditch station was not in Hackney, it was in Tower Hamlets.'

There have been several Shoreditch stations (with another on the way). I was thinking of the Shoreditch one in Hackney. As I said (historically).

The North London Line - formerly Silverlink - stations have been (inconsistently) on the maps for over 14 years. The maps are movable feasts - not one definitive document - and lines are depicted depending on context - where the map is going to be shown /in carriages/some only show Zone 1/within the Circle Line, etc.

What bugs me is that our Orwellian Mayor Pipe has consistently misled the public by claiming credit for bringing the Tube to Hackney. Come 2012 Hackney will not be provided with any more 'Tube' trains than it is now.

We have got a great bus service and biking is easy but still dangerous at times. Our new railway line and stations will be a welcome addition. Why can he not be plain speaking? Why does he have to use weasel words? I think he is his own worst enemy and drags the rest of the Cabinet down.

2:49 am, May 02, 2009

Blogger Tim Roll-Pickering said...

The North London Line's appearances on the tube map have a complicated history, not least because of changes to the line itself.

If memory serves correctly the North London Line as we know it today didn't come together until the early 1980s when routes between Richmond and Dalston (that otherwise run down to Broad Street station predominantly over a route that the East London Line extension will follow) were combined with the Stratford to North Woolwich route (now closed) linked via a stretch of track from Stratford to Dalston that had hitherto been freight only for many years, with new stations in Hackney added around this time. Broad Street station and its route to Dalston were finally abandoned in 1986.

There was a campaign in the 1970s for the Broad Street to Richmond route to be added to the tube map to encourage integrated journeys and also to try and divert some passengers away from congested central London interchanges. The campaign succeed by 1977, and subsequently followed the mid 1980s changes to show a Richmond to North Woolwich line, but the route (and later also Thameslink between London Bridge/Elephant & Castle/Moorgate to Kentish Town plus the Northern City Line from Moorgate to Finsbury Park) has not always been on every subsequent edition. However the creation of London Overground (which is technically just TfL as a Train Operating Company, not that it's presented to the public as such) seems to have permanently entrenched it.

Curiously the other ex-Silverlink lines, the West London Line (Clapham Junction to Willesden Junction) and the Gospel Oak to Barking Line were not added until 2007 even though they too offer useful routes around London that bypass the centre.

8:29 pm, May 03, 2009

Anonymous David Holland said...

The expelled group of councillors were not old or any kind of left - as I recall they declared themselves as 'Hackney New Labour' before disintegrating into the Tories, the Lib Dems and anyone else who would have them, like the rotten bloc they were.

12:08 pm, May 07, 2009

Anonymous Eric Pearson said...

Government by the People, for the People.
As patriotic Americans, it is our duty to follow in the footsteps laid down by the founding fathers of America. By the grace of God, we each shoulder the responsibility to protect and preserve our great Nation. Therein, we each proudly rise up and Pledge our Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
On the other hand, many of see the Democratic and Republican Parties abandoning the principals as set forth by the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States. At the very least, most of us already know the Democratic and Republican Parties no longer place much value on the "Will of the People". Not to mention, these two political parties have recently given us Presidential advisors referred to as Czars; an ever increasing and nearly insurmountable debt; two active Wars, and they are moving more rapidly than ever into a socialist form of government.
The Democratic and Republican parties have clearly set their own agendas over the "Will of the People". More importantly, they collaborate together forever increasing power over the people. An example, they, by and large, pick the candidates they want us to vote for in Federal Elections as evidenced by the national debates that do not allow "third-party" candidates a voice in our election process. The two parties are one and the same, the Republican Party was started 78 years after the birth of our great Nation and later split into what is now the Democratic Party. This is a power our founding fathers never condoned or wanted for themselves, our Nation, and the American people. Again by the grace of God, our founding fathers left us the means to form our own political parties to counter vent and restore our government back to the people.
As a family man, a father of two and a grandfather of two with another grandchild on the way, I must admit I've hardly ever voted in my life, and I never will like politics. Nevertheless, I foresee the eventual downfall of this Nation unless something is done in the very near future. The only hope is another political party built on the values and principals this great Nation was founded on. Not being overly surprised, I couldn't find such a political party to join and give my support. This realization happened about the same time one of my daughters told me I was going to be a grandfather again, so I reluctantly decided to begin forming the Democratic Reform Party. The date was on or about August 28, 2009, and since then I've learned I can use all the advice and help in forming this political party into what our founding fathers would be proud of.
In short, I pray you will join in building this new political party. Together, despite the perception that Washington cannot be changed, we can restore our Nation back to a, "Government by the People, for the People".
Thank you, and God Bless America.
Eric C. Pearson
Web site: http://www.democraticreformparty.com
Email: EPearson@DemocraticReformParty.com

3:17 pm, September 11, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Please share this link with those who might be interested.


P.S. The book is waiting for a reviewer

10:15 pm, January 02, 2010


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